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JFK Johnson among 16 ‘Model System’ sites

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has named JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute one of just 16 Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) sites in the nation, a designation that includes a $2.1 million grant to conduct brain injury research over the next five years.

The designation prompted U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J. 6th District), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J. 9th District), co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, to visit the institute recently to recognize the achievement.

Pascrell, chairman of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, said he works to ensure funding of the program because he understands the need for continued research to help people with traumatic brain injuries.

“I’m especially excited that JFK Johnson is the recipient of a Model Systems grant,” Pascrell said. “I won’t stop fighting for important resources for individuals with traumatic brain injury. They need supports, services and quality health care, so you won’t see me letting up.”

Patients at Model Systems sites can participate in cutting-edge research projects and benefit from a higher level of resources.

Pallone and Pascrell toured the JFK Johnson Center for Brain Injuries and met with patients to hear their stories and learn about their recovery. They also talked to staff members who work directly with patients recovering from brain injury.

During the visit, Pallone and Pascrell observed patients obtain rehabilitation at the Brain Trauma Unit, a specialized unit for those recently injured by brain trauma. They also visited Independence Square, a section of the institute that simulates a typical community with sidewalks, a “grocery store,” car and elements of a fully furnished home.

Each year, an estimated 1.7 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury, and 80,000 to 90,000 of them experience the onset of long-term disability, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The Model Systems program advances medical and rehabilitation treatment to improve outcomes so patients reach the highest level of recovery possible.

The grants are awarded to institutes that are national leaders in brain injury care and research and come from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, & Rehabilitation Research within HHS’s Administration For Community Living. The grants can focus on innovative projects and also support research to evaluate and develop therapies and interventions.

“At JFK Johnson, we’re committed to advancing what’s possible for our patients with brain injury,” said Sara Cuccurullo, MD, vice president and medical director of JFK Johnson. “We are so proud to once again be awarded this grant to help us research the most innovative and effective ways to help not just our patients but all patients with brain injuries.”

This is the third time JFK Johnson has been designated a Model Systems site.

“With so many New Jersey families dealing with Traumatic Brain Injury, it is critical that we fund the research to develop the best treatments possible,” said Pallone. “The JFK Johnson Center for Brain Injuries is a leader in brain trauma evaluation and treatment, and I am confident that its work will make a difference in the lives of so many facing this challenge.”

Brian Greenwald, MD, director of the Center for Brain Injury at JFK Johnson, said brain injury affects the entire body.

“Your memory, your hearing, your ability to think — even swallow,” he said. “Everything can be affected. We aim to get you better from head to toe. This grant will support research into the best ways to help our patients.”

Keith D. Cicerone, Ph.D., director of Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation Psychology at the JFK Johnson and JFK Neuroscience Institute, will serve as project director and lead researcher related to the grant along with Dr. Greenwald and Yelena Goldin, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist in the JFK Johnson Cognitive Rehabilitation Department.

Model Systems are networks of hospitals and institutes across the nation that focus on improving recovery of patients with one of three types of injuries: burns, spinal cord injury, or traumatic brain injury. The Model Systems are federally funded.

For additional information, call 732-321-7733.

SOURCE: http://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/health/2017/10/23/federal-government-names-jfk-johnson-amonnamed-one-16-prestigious-model-system-sites-and-awards-gran/791833001/

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JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute Receives Top Five-Star Rating for Residency Program

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JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute has received Five Stars — the highest rating — for its Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Residency Program from Doximity, the leading network for American physicians.

The rating comes from Doximity’s Residency Navigator, which provides information about residency programs to medical school students who will be applying to residency programs.
More than 52,000 physicians have contributed nominations, ratings, and reviews. Residency Navigator combined their feedback with objective data on residency programs across 27 specialties. Residency Navigator also uses “alumni outcomes” analysis from analyzing the CVs and career paths of all U.S. physicians.

“This top rating is especially meaningful to us because it includes input from our peers,” said Sara Cuccurullo, MD, Medical Director of JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute and Chair and Residency Program Director. “For new doctors, selecting a residency program is one of the most important decisions they will make. We know our residency program is among the nation’s best in rehabilitation and we appreciate this recognition from Doximity.”

The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) Residency Program is based out of JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute and the residents of the program are residents of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and JFK Medical Center. More than 150 residents and fellows have completed the program since it began more than 30 years ago.

Each year approximately 400 to 500 medical students apply for four spots in the program. For more than the past decade, residents have had a 100 percent pass rate on their written board examinations. The residents also have had a 100 percent placement to fellowship programs.

The residency has vibrant and engaged alumni, including many who now work as Medical Directors, Chairpersons and Residency and Fellowship Program Directors in rehabilitation programs across the nation. The residency program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Board Review Textbook (Demos Publishing), widely used by doctors taking their boards in the specialty, was created at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute and Dr. Cuccurullo is editor-in-chief.

THE LEADER IN PROVIDING QUALITY REHABILITATION CARE

Since 1974, JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute has developed programs in such specialties as stroke rehabilitation, orthopedic programs, fitness, cardiac rehabilitation, women’s health, pediatrics and brain injury rehabilitation. In addition to providing inpatient adult rehabilitation services, the institute treats thousands of children and adults each year on an outpatient and short-term basis. Outpatient rehabilitation programs are provided in Edison and our facilities in Metuchen and Monroe. We also provide a variety of consulting, treatment, education, and advocacy for local companies, professionals and schools.

Our continuum of care assures patients of an integrated, personalized program that facilitates the recovery process and encourages family participation.

JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute offers 94 inpatient beds in a separately licensed hospital that is attached to the Anthony M. Yelencsics Community Hospital. Together, they comprise JFK Medical Center, a private, not-for-profit community hospital. The JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute is accredited by the Joint Commission. The facility is also accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute is also licensed by the state of New Jersey as a Comprehensive Rehabilitation Hospital.

For additional information about our inpatient services please call (732) 321-7733.

Comedian’s Recovery Shines Light on Rehabilitation Nursing Specialty

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EDISON, NJ — June 3, 2016 — Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan last night handed out the first “Tracy Morgan Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation Nursing,” created to honor a rehabilitation nurse at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison.

The award will be given out annually to a JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute nurse who exhibits the highest levels of skills and compassion in rehabilitation nursing.

“You are the people who saved my life. I can never really thank you enough,” an emotional Morgan said Thursday night to the nurses, physicians, physical therapists, and other members of the health care team that cared for him after his 2014 accident on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The comedian hugged the award winner, Jackie Chirichella, BSN, RN, and recalled how she continually told him he would get better. “And I did,” Morgan said.

Morgan presented the award to Chirichella and reminisced with the rehabilitation professionals — many he knew by name — after his stand-up routine at Caroline’s Broadway in New York. His routine included hilarious riffs on his recovery — from how he emerged from his coma to the physical therapists who stretched his muscles to the array of people who visited him in the hospital.

In his act, he joked that his physician, Dr. Brian Greenwald, told him his comical musings were from his brain injury.

“ I told him, ‘No, I’m just funny,” Morgan said in his routine.

During his routine, Morgan’s recovery was fodder for many no-holds-barred jokes about his recovery, but after the show he teared up when he thanked his caregivers.

Many of the health care professionals from JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute were moved by the experience.

“His timing was impeccable and he was sharp and really, really funny. It is so great to see how his recovery allowed him to reclaim his talent,” said Jim Anderson, a physician therapist.

“It was overwhelming to see him doing so well,” Chirichella said.

Sara Cuccurullo, MD, Vice President and Medical Director of JFK Johnson, said Morgan generously shared his inspiring story of recovery and put a focus on the role of rehabilitation nursing.

“We created this award to thank Tracy Morgan for the inspiration he continues to provide to our patients and for the light he shines on the skill, compassion and specialized training of rehabilitation nurses,” she said. “Tracy Morgan’s kind words about our nurses put focus on the skill and compassion of rehabilitation nurses everywhere.”

Rehabilitation nurses possess the specialized knowledge and clinical skills to help patients with disabilities, chronic illness or injuries reach their maximum level of function. Rehabilitation nurses design and implement strategies that are based on scientific nursing theory to promote physical, psychological, social, and spiritual health.

Morgan handed the award to Chirichella, assistant nurse manager for the Brain Trauma Unit, after he performed at Caroline’s comedy club in New York on Thursday night. Chirichella holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Fairleigh Dickinson University and has worked at the rehabilitation institute for 17 years.

“I am in awe of all my patients’ accomplishments every single day,” Chirichella said. “I am surrounded by the highest caliber of nurses and staff who continue to inspire me.”

Tracy Morgan starred for seven seasons on NBC’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning “30 Rock.” Morgan appeared opposite Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin as “Tracy Jordan,” the unpredictable star of a hit variety show. Currently he is staring in a nationwide stand-up tour called, “Picking up the Pieces.”

For more than 40 years, the non-profit JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison has provided specialized rehabilitation services to children and adults. The institute has 94 inpatient beds and provides a range of highly specialized services, such as stroke, cardiac, orthopedic and brain injury rehabilitation. Many of the institute’s physicians and researchers are widely published and involved in creating new techniques and interventions to advance the field of rehabilitative medicine.

PHOTO CAPTION: Tracy Morgan with Jackie Chirichella, BSN, RN, and other members of the health care team at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. Photo credit: Steve Berg

Nationally Recognized Comprehensive Rehabilitation Care

Since 1974, JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute has developed programs in such specialties as stroke rehabilitation, orthopedic programs, fitness, cardiac rehabilitation, women’s health, pediatrics and brain injury rehabilitation. In addition to providing inpatient adult rehabilitation services, the institute treats thousands of children and adults each year on an outpatient and short-term basis. Outpatient rehabilitation programs are provided in Edison and our facilities in Metuchen and Monroe. We also provide a variety of consulting, treatment, education, and advocacy for local companies, professionals and schools.

Our continuum of care assures patients of an integrated, personalized program that facilitates the recovery process and encourages family participation.

JFK Johnson offers 94 inpatient beds in a separately licensed hospital that is attached to JFK Medical Center. Together, they comprise JFK Medical Center, a private, not-for-profit community hospital. The JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute is accredited by the Joint Commission. The facility is also accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities in the areas of Comprehensive Integrated Inpatient Rehabilitation (Adult) and Employment Services: Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation Services. JFK Johnson is also licensed by the state of New Jersey as a Comprehensive Rehabilitation Hospital.

For additional information about our inpatient services please call (732) 321-7733, for outpatient adult and pediatric rehabilitation programs, call (732) 321-7790.

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